Five Concordia University wrestlers placed at the NAIA North Region Championship this weekend at Northwestern College. Gordie Fowlkes, Adam Joseph and Julian Silva earned a top-four finish, which assured them a seed in the NAIA national wrestling championship bracket on March 3-5.
The Bulldog wrestling team entered the tournament shorthanded when 141-pound wrestlers Alex Rostvet and Robbie Resendiz were unable to compete due to a flu-like illness. The inability of Rostvet to compete cost the Bulldogs dearly, as Rostvet would have been the fourth seed in the tournament.
Julian Silva (Covina, Calif.) placed second at 197 pounds. Silva opened the tournament versus Cody Millard of Midland University. Silva won a 13-7 decision on the strength of four takedowns. In the quarterfinals, Silva defeated Morningside’s Tyler Kacmarynski 5-2, allowing Kacmarynski just two escapes in the match.
In the semifinals, Silva won a hard fought strategic match against nationally ranked and number one seed George Hargrove of Dickinson State University. Trailing 1-0 going into the final period, Silva scored an escape and a takedown to claim a 3-2 decision. In the finals, Silva lost to number two seed Jon Wilbourne of Midland University, 7-4. Silva heads into the national championships as the number two seed in the region with a strong 36-10 record.
Sophomore Adam Joseph (Hastings, Neb.) placed in his seventh tournament of the season to up his rookie record to 28-10 at 133 pounds. Joseph opened the tournament as the number three seed. Joseph had a tough opening round draw against Josh Rogers of Briar Cliff University. Rogers was a 2010 NAIA All-American. After giving up two first period takedowns and trailing 4-1, Joseph ripped off nine straight points to win the match 10-4. Joseph then lost to nationally ranked Matt Katusin of Midland University 9-3 in the semifinals.
In the consolation semifinals, Joseph won a 9-2 decision over Jared Miller of Jamestown College, then in the consolation finals won a 10-5 decision over Jake McManigal of Morningside College to place third in the 133 pound weight class. Joseph’s third place finish will give him a seed in the national championship bracket.
Gordie Fowlkes (Newman Grove, Neb.) placed fourth at 125 pounds. Fowlkes opened the tournament versus Sergio Martinez of Dickinson State University. Martinez won a major decision 15-5 to send Fowlkes to the consolation bracket. Fowlkes bounced back with a fall in 1:34 versus senior Jarrod Weins of Hastings College, who is a national championship qualifier.
Fowlkes then upset the number four seed, Justin Peskar, of Midland University with a 3-1 win in overtime. The win advanced Fowlkes to the consolation finals with a rematch against Sergio Martinez of Dickinson State. Fowlkes built a 3-2 lead in the third period then suffered a separated shoulder. The injury allowed Martinez to obtain the down position in referee’s position, where an escape helped Martinez tie the match and change the momentum of the bout. In the final seconds, as Fowlkes tried to win the match, he was called for a penalty and the bout went to Martinez.
After placing fourth, Fowlkes was informed that he had to wrestle a “true” fourth match for national seeding. Fowlkes had to face Diego Quintana of Northwestern College. Fowlkes was 0-3 versus Quintana this season. His last match with Quintana was a loss in the consolation semifinals of the GPAC championships by fall. Fowlkes took command right off the opening whistle, scoring twice with takedowns to build a 5-3 lead in the opening period. At the beginning of the second period, Fowlkes turned Quintana for three near fall points to solidify a 9-3 win. The victory allowed Fowlkes to be seeded into the 125 pound bracket at the national championships.
“We got a tremendous effort out of Fowlkes, Joseph and Silva on Saturday,” noted head coach Doug Reese. “These guys wrestled extremely well match after match. They earned the opportunity to be seeded at nationals which is a huge benefit for them. I am very proud of what they achieved.”
Placing 5th at 184 pounds was Andrew Lords (Rigby, Idaho). Lords won a 3-2 match over Marcel Moody of Briar Cliff University, 3-2, and then pinned Ronald Willison of Briar Cliff University in 41 seconds. Placing 6th at 149 pounds was Brandon Starkey (St. Paul, Neb.). Starkey won a 16-6 decision against Ariel Bosque of Northwestern College and had a fall in 2:17 versus Dan Gerhardus of Hastings College. The final win gave Starkey his 31st win of the season.
Also winning matches for the Bulldogs was Travis Patrick (Castle Rock, Wash.) at 133 pounds, Alex Stepanek (St. Paul, Neb.) at 149 pounds, Ryan Perez (Lake Charles, La.) and Frank Ayala (West Covina, Calif.) at heavyweight.
The Bulldog wrestling team will now prep for their final competition of the season at the NAIA National Wrestling Championships on March 3-5 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.